After their historic triumph in Australia, Team India is set to host England for a full-fledged tour comprising of 4 Tests, 5 T20Is, and 3 ODIs. As captain, Virat Kohli returns to the side, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced an 18-man squad for the first two Test matches.
The opening two Tests of the series will be played at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai followed by the next two games at the newly built 110,000-seater at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad.
There were some notable inclusions in the squad for the first two Test matches. All-rounder, Hardik Pandya returns to the Test squad after last featuring in the longest format for India on the tour of England in 2018.
Ravindra Jadeja has been ruled out due to a thumb fracture – a like-for-like replacement, Axar Patel is included in the squad. The Chetan Sharma led selection panel has dropped Prithvi Shaw after his scores of 0 and 4 in Adelaide.
The selectors have also named 5 standby players who will be inducted into the squad in case of anyone from the main squad was to be replaced; it is a safe move considering players getting injured frequently. These back-ups will be travelling with the India squad but will get a call-up if the requirement arises.
Jharkhand’s left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, Andhra’s wicket-keeper KS Bharat, Bengal’s opening batsman Abhimanyu Easwaran, Gujarat batsman Priyank Panchal and Rajasthan’s leg-spinner Rahul Chahar; amongst the five Shabaz Nadeem has featured in a Test match for India.
All the standby players have been magnificent in domestic cricket, and are rewarded with a place as a back-up alternative. As per BCCI, the squad also consists of 5 nets bowlers.
BCCI names Indian squad to face England:
Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha, Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel.
Standbys: KS Bharat (wicketkeeper), Abhimanyu Easwaran, Shahbaz Nadeem, Rahul Chahar, Priyank Panchal
Net bowlers: Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Warrier, K Gowtham, Saurabh Kumar
The Committee also picked five net bowlers and five players as standbys.
Net Bowlers: Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Warrier, Krishnappa Gowtham, Saurabh Kumar
Standby players: K S Bharat, Abhimanyu Easwaran, Shahbaz Nadeem, Rahul Chahar, Priyank Panchal#INDvENG
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 19, 2021